holder of the chair

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David B. Sachsman holds the George R. West, Jr. Chair of Excellence in Communication and Public Affairs at the rank of Professor.  He came to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in August 1991 from California State University, Fullerton, where he had served as Dean and Professor of the School of Communications.  Previously, he was Chair of the Department of Journalism and Mass Media at Rutgers University.


Dr. Sachsman is the director of the annual Symposium on the 19th Century Press, the Civil War, and Free Expression, which he and S. Kittrell Rushing founded in 1993.  Dr. Sachsman is an editor of The Civil War and the Press, a book of readings drawn from the first five conferences, published by Transaction Publishers in 2000.  In 2005, Dr. Sachsman, Dr. Rushing, and author and editor Roy Morris Jr. proposed a three-book series based on conference papers to Purdue University Press.  The first book in the series, Memory and Myth: The Civil War in Fiction and Film, which was published by Purdue University Press in July 2007, was nominated for the Lincoln Prize and exhibited at the Frankfurt Book Fair.  The second book in the series, Words at War: The Civil War and American Journalism, was published in 2008.  The third book, Seeking a Voice: Images of Race and Gender in the 19th Century Press was published in 2009.  Transaction Publishers published Sensationalism: Murder, Mayhem, Mudslinging, Scandals, and Disasters in 19th-Century Reporting in 2013 and A Press Divided: Newspaper Coverage of the Civil War in 2014.

Dr. Sachsman pictured with granddaughter Rachel.


Dr. Sachsman also is known for his research and scholarly activities in environmental communication and environmental risk reporting and for the three editions of Media: An Introductory Analysis of American Mass Communications (which he wrote with Peter M. Sandman and David M. Rubin).  A journalist by trade, Dr. Sachsman also has written about the suburban press.  Three of his books and a series of articles have won statewide awards from the Society of Professional Journalists.  In 2005 Dr. Sachsman headed the team appointed to evaluate the U.S. Agency for International Development’s environmental education and communication efforts in more than thirty countries across twelve years.


Dr. Sachsman has been involved – mostly as a principal investigator – in a number of large research projects sponsored by institutions such as the Hazardous Substance Management Research Center in New Jersey, the California Department of Transportation, and the California Department of Health and Human Services.  These projects have received grants and contracts totaling more than $840,000.  In 2000, he rejoined his former Rutgers teammates to work on the third edition of The Reporter’s Environmental Handbook, which was published by Rutgers University Press in 2003. Dr. Sachsman is engaged in a research project on environmental reporters with Dr. JoAnn Valenti, now retired from Brigham Young University, and Dr. James Simon of Fairfield University. They have written five articles based on this project, and their book, Environment Reporters in the 21st Century, was published by Transaction Publishers in 2010.


Dr. Sachsman received his B.A. in English from the University of Pennsylvania and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Communication from Stanford University.  He has been teaching journalism to students and professionals since 1969.  In 1974, he worked for The Home News in New Brunswick, N.J. as a copy editor and informal writing coach.  In the same year, he served as an educational consultant to the Mass Communications Department at Clark College in Atlanta.  From 1996 to 1998, he was a news consultant and writing coach for WRCB-TV in Chattanooga.  In 1998, he received the Yale Daily News’ Braestrup Fellowship and gave two presentations on journalism ethics at Yale University.  In 2003, he delivered the Medart Lecture (on “Mass Media and War”) at Maryville University in St. Louis.  Dr. Sachsman served as a Senior Fulbright-Hays Scholar in 1978-79 in Nigeria, where he helped plan for the development of one of the first mass communication graduate degrees in West Africa.  He was elected president of the New Jersey Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in 1981 and served two terms, specializing in continuing education programs for journalists.  Dr. Sachsman is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists.  He serves on the editorial board of SEJournal, and was co-chair of SEJ’s annual meeting in 1998 and again in 2013 in Chattanooga.  In 2013, Transaction Publishers named Dr. Sachsman founding editor of its new journalism series.